Over the years, I enjoyed the odd lazy lunch in Rumpoles, the restaurant/bar opposite the Belfast courts on the corner of Chichester Street and Victoria Street. You'd be sitting chomping down your Chicken Maryland and suddenly you'd be transported back to Shakespeare's England as men in wigs and black gowns would walk past! The favourite (?) haunt of the local legal eagles, it seemed like it would always be there.
A while back, it closed for refurbishment, reopening as The Advocate. It's owner Mark Beirne sold the "gastro bar" to Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based Ultimate Leisure (which recently changed its name to PBR/Premium Bars & Restaurants).
And at the end of January The Advocate ceased trading. The end of an era. Not sure now where all the barristers and solicitors will discuss their cases? Neither Cafe Legal (pronounced in a French accent Cafe Le Gal?) nor the catering in the Bar Library get great reports.
But The Advocate's closure - only days after the death of Rumpole's creator John Mortimer - surely points to how the economic pressure is hitting the legal profession as well as local catering outlets.